The Los Angeles Lakers will find out the fate of their top-five protected pick on Tuesday during the NBA Draft lottery, but Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak is already preparing his options with a little over a month leading up to the June 25 draft. The Lakers could potentially hold three picks in the draft, and Kupchak said it could be "a little too much" to bring in three rookies at once, reports Bill Oram of the OC Register.
Possibilities range from using some combination of their later picks -- the 27th-overall pick via Houston, along with the 34th pick -- to move up in the first round to snatch one of the higher-ranked prospects. Whatever the case may be, Kupchak and the front office are preparing for every scenario -- even trading their top-five pick for an "established player," via Oram:
"We know having a pick in the lottery is an asset," he said, "and with an asset like a pick you can use it to select a player, you could use it in combination with other picks to move up or down. You could trade it for an established player.
"We have a lot of financial flexibility this summer, so we don't have to move players out to take a player back. We have a lot of options if we're lucky enough to end up with the pick."
The Lakers have an assortment of incredibly tradeable assets heading into the draft, leaving nearly every avenue for acquiring talent and shifting draft picks open to rebuild the roster. Los Angeles also has financial flexibility, giving them space to make maximum-level offers to free agents, which could be advantageous in trade discussions.
NBA Draft Lottery
NBA Draft Lottery
The Lakers could also go the draft and stash route, which they've had some pretty good success with (see: Gasol, Marc) in the past. Kupchak was on a scouting trip in Europe in March, which means the Lakers had been digging through international prospects through the season. The scouting team has a huge task in front of them with a potential top-five pick they have to nail, along with two additional picks in the middle of the draft that can be turned into talent.
Kupchak's success in identifying Jordan Clarkson and landing him without giving up any assets just got it's final piece of validation as the rookie point guard was named to the All-Rookie first team.
Options around the 27th and 34th slot are limited -- as Ben Rosales recently detailed in an incredibly informative column -- which could make for a tough spot for the front office. For now, the first domino is set to fall for Los Angeles on lottery night. There's a 17.2 percent chance their first-round pick slides out of the top-five and into the 76ers hands, which even has Kupchak admitting he's nervous about lottery night.
Once that is squared away, everyone can focus on what comes next.